Anxiety is normal, and we all experience it from time to time. Whether you’re nervous about taking a big test at school, going out on your first date, becoming a new parent, or going into a major job interview, small doses of anxiety can actually be a healthy part of life. It motivates you to make improvements in your life and pushes you to accomplish your goals. However, there’s a big difference between experiencing normal bouts of anxiety and experiencing anxiety that impacts everyday functioning. Let me explain.

Feeling Anxious vs. Having an Anxiety Disorder

As mentioned, we all experience some form of anxiety at one point or another in our lives; this is completely normal! Whether or not we use that anxiety as the driving force behind our actions or allow it to consume us is what matters most. Here are a few differentiating factors to help you determine whether the anxiety you’re currently feeling is fleeting or long-term:

Feeling Anxious

When we feel anxious, there is typically a trigger, for instance an upcoming test or an important job interview. The feeling of anxiety is fleeting, meaning it doesn’t last very long and usually subsides after the event (ie. test or job interview) is over. Everyone experiences anxiety differently; however, usually it results in temporary uneasiness.

Anxiety Disorder

On the other hand, an anxiety disorder is more significant and requires greater attention and help. Those who struggle with an anxiety disorder tend to struggle with the cause and are left with feeling out of control. Some forms of anxiety can be so intense that they have a negative emotional, mental, and physical impact on us. Physical symptoms of anxiety include: heart palpitations, shortness of breath, feeling like you’re drowning or choking, chest pains, excessive sweating, turning red, and uncontrollable trembling. Oftentimes, anxiety disorders can have an impact on our personal and social lives as well.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety and stress can go hand-in-hand. There are different types of anxiety disorders that can develop over time and be triggered by life’s many stressful situations. Thankfully, anxiety disorders are highly treatable provided that you seek proper treatment from a qualified counsellor. Here is a list of anxiety disorders you should be aware of:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder